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Channel 7 Launches Court Action To Cancel $450M Cricket Deal

Channel 7 has launched Federal Court action against Cricket Australia in a move to cancel its $450 million television rights deal.

The network launched discovery proceedings against Cricket Australia in late 2020, and are now citing a number of breaches of the contract in regards to quality and standards, mostly around the BBL.

“Seven West Media Limited through its subsidiary Seven Network Limited has filed court proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Cricket Australia in relation to multiple quality and standard breaches by CA of Seven’s Media Rights Agreement with CA,” said a Seven statement.

“The SWM (Seven West Media) proceedings will seek both: A court declaration that Seven is entitled to terminate the MRA (media rights agreement) on the basis of material contract breaches by CA which were not remedied. And damages arising out of past breaches.

“Seven previously obtained preliminary discovery proceedings in the Federal Court relating to the claims. Seven’s intention is to terminate the MRA, conditional on the Federal Court granting a declaration that Seven is entitled to do so.

“Seven has the right to waive this condition. The damages action is not conditional.

“Seven will continue to perform its obligations under the MRA (in terms of telecasting Tests and BBL etc) until terminated.

“Seven has pursued the informal dispute resolution procedure under the MRA but the procedure failed to resolve the dispute.”

Seven boss James Warburton confirmed in February he was unhappy with the Big Bash League.

“It’s no secret that we’re extremely pleased with Test match cricket, but Cricket Australia haven’t delivered on their contract with the Big Bash,” he told SMH at the time.

“We’ve got a much better relationship these days…but they have to make fundamental changes to the Big Bash League. They’re finally making the right noises.”

The BBL attracted an average viewing audience of just 630,000 per match this summer. In early 2016, the league was attracting 1.1 million viewers per game.

Even cricketers aren’t interested.

In early 2020, Ricky Ponting lobbied Cricket Australia to shorten the tournament, saying it “does tend to lose a bit of interest when we come out of our Christmas slumber.”

“The last couple of years the tournament has probably just tapered off a little bit,” Ponting said at the time.

“When it was absolutely at its best was when it was probably slightly fewer games and it was still going through the school holidays.

“That’s when we’ve had better attendances and for some reason we seemed to have better games and better tournaments as well.

“After 10 weeks, it’s still a couple of weeks too long. I think you could probably condense it.”

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